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UK needs to adapt to climate change risks

Research released by the Government shows the top 100 problems the UK faces because of climate change. This research is seen as a stepping stone to tackle the effects of global warming in the UK. Charlotte Reid has more.

The Climate Change Risk Assessment (CCRA), released on Thursday January 26th, highlights the problems that face the UK and its economy because of climate change.

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Research released by the Government shows the top 100 problems the UK faces because of climate change. This research is seen as a stepping stone to tackle the effects of global warming in the UK. Charlotte Reid has more.

The Climate Change Risk Assessment (CCRA), released on Thursday January 26th, highlights the problems that face the UK and its economy because of climate change.

The report addresses challenges such as an increased risk of flooding, and increased pressure on the UK’s water resources.

The report, which comes in at over 2,000 pages, was released by the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and is part of the Government’s strategy to cope with global warming. The research was carried out over the past three years, and it is the first comprehensive assessment of the risks of climate change in Britain.  

Speaking at the launch of the CCRA, environment secretary Caroline Spellman said the research “provides the most comprehensive case yet on why we need to take action to adapt the UK and our economy to the impacts of climate change”.

She said the report “shows what life could be like if we stopped our preparations now and the consequences such a decision would mean for our economic stability.

“The Climate Change Risk Assessment will be vital in helping us to understand what we need to do to stop these threats becoming a reality. In doing so there is also great potential for growth through UK firms developing innovative products and services tailored to meet the global climate challenges.”

Lord John Krebs, chair of the adaptation subcommittee of the Committee on Climate Change, said it is important for the UK to plan ahead.

“Without an effective plan to prepare for the risks from climate change the country may sleepwalk into disaster”, he said.

“This report represents an important first step in the process and demonstrates why the UK needs to take action to adapt now.”

Professor Bob Watson, chief scientific adviser at Defra, said the report “means we can compare a wide range of risks based on their financial, social and environmental implications”.

“This will be invaluable for Government in prioritising the areas for future policies and investment, and it will help businesses assess what they need to do to ensure they are resilient to the changing climate.

Blue & Green Tomorrow has highlighted the good work that is already taking place in businesses that benefits the environment. In the UK there are a number of IFAs who are specialising in ethical investment. There are also a great number of businesses who are thinking about more than just profit but also their social responsibility as a company.

But more can always be done.

Dr Matthew Brown, who is head of energy and climate change policy for the CBI, a business lobbying organisation, says that many UK firms are already thinking about the ways in which climate change could affect the economy.

But he also points out some room for improvement.

“The CBI has suggested that companies include climate change as part of their on-going risk management, including looking at risks to their supply chain, assets, operations, markets, regulatory compliance and business reputation”, he said.

“We also say that climate exposure should be included in corporate reports.”

The evidence from this report is being used to develop a National Adaptation Programme (NAP), which will be published in 2013. This will be used to set out the Government’s plans to address climate change. Spelman has called for the public to be involved in NAP and is encouraging the public to tell the Government what they should consider as priority areas.

There is another way that you can show the Government how you feel about climate change – by making a difference to the future of our planet now.

You can stop relying upon fossil fuels and start using renewable energy in your home. Just get in touch with Good Energy to find out more.

You can even make a difference in your travel habits by looking at the sustainable alternatives available.

Or be more selective about where you shop. Blue & Green Tomorrow recommends the Ethical Superstore.

You can also start to invest your money into companies and funds that help the environment and create a sustainable economy. Just speak to your IFA to find out more. If you don’t have one then fill in our online form and we will put you in touch with a financial adviser.

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What Does the Rising Alt-Right Movement Mean for Climate Change Propaganda?

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Shutterstock Licensed Photo - By Rawpixel.com https://www.shutterstock.com/g/rawpixel

Time author Justin Worland penned an insightful post this summer about the increasingly divisive attitudes on climate change. Worland pointed out that concerns about climate science used to be a bipartisan focus, but have since become primarily the concern of the left.

The Alt-Right Gives Renewed Voice to Climate Change Denialism

Unfortunately, the battle is becoming more divisive than ever before. The rise of the alt-right movement has propelled climate change denialism into overdrive. The election of Donald Trump illustrates this perfectly. In 2012, Trump tweeted that climate change was a mess created by the Chinese. At the time, his statement was dismissed as a mocking jab at the current president. However, after millions of alt-right voters put Trump in office, these fears became more pronounced.

The alt-right movement is gaining steam across the Western World. This has created profound concerns about the inevitable future of climate change. Of course, not every alt-right group adheres to climate change denialism. A British paper writing service would likely publish more articles that are favorable to the climate change discussion, even if it was read primarily by right-wingers. However, that is of little solace to the rest of the world. While alt-right groups in mainland Europe may not share the American GOP’s hostility towards climate science, they will help reinforce their political capital.

Around the same time Worland published his article, his colleague at The Guardian, David Runciman wrote a piece that focused more heavily on recent developments driven by the alt-right.

“Not all climate sceptics are part of the “alt-right”. But everyone in the alt-right is now a climate sceptic. That’s what makes the politics so toxic. It means that climate scepticism is being driven out by climate cynicism. A sceptic questions the evidence for a given claim and asks whether it is believable. A cynic questions the motives of the people who deploy the evidence, regardless of whether it is believable or not. Any attempt to defend the facts gets presented as evidence that the facts simply suit the interests of the people peddling them.”

Does this mean that the quest to fight climate change has been lost? No. A new generation of right wingers are beginning to break the cycle of climate change denialism. According to recent polls, millennial conservatives are much more likely to be concerned about the future of climate change then they’re older conservative brethren. They may help turn the tide of the political discussion, so climate change can once again be a bipartisan concern.

Unfortunately, there are a couple of concerns:

  • Millennials are less politically active, so they may not have the influence necessary to temper the alt-right position on climate change.
  • The alt-right has significant control over the discussion. Trump has taken efforts to bar studies that contradict his position on climate change. Millennial attitudes on climate science make shift after being exposed to alt-right propaganda.

The biggest concern of all is that it may be too late to address the problem by the time millennials have any meaningful political influence.

So what can be done to address the issue? Climate change advocates must be more diligent than ever. They will be combating a group of climate change deniers with a lot more political support. They will need to make the case that fighting climate change is not a political concern, but a concern of human survival.

With concerns about climate change mounting, they will also need to make it one of their primary ballot points during coming elections. If they create enough of a protest, they may be able to turn the tide of discussion.

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Environment

How Home Automation Can Help You Go Green

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The holidays are an exciting, nostalgic time: the crispness in the air, the crunch of snow under your boot, the display of ornate holiday lighting up your home like a beacon to outer space, and the sound of Santa’s bell at your local Walmart.

Oh, yeah—and your enormous electric bill.

Extra lights and heating can make for some unexpected budgeting problems, and they also cause your home to emit higher levels of CO2 and other pollutants.

So, it’s not just your wallet that’s hurting—the planet is hurting as well.

You can take the usual steps to save energy and be more eco-conscious as you go about your normal winter routine (e.g., keeping cooler temperatures in the home, keeping lights off in naturally lit rooms, etc.), but these methods can often be exhausting and ultimately ineffective.

So what can you actually do to create a greener home?

Turn to tech.

Technology is making waves in conservation efforts. AI and home automation have grown in popularity over the last couple of years, not only because of their cost saving benefits but also because of their ability to improve a home’s overall energy efficiency.

Use the following guide to identify your home’s inefficiencies and find a solution to your energy woes.

Monitor Your Energy Usage

Many people don’t understand how their homes use energy, so they struggle with conservation. Start by looking at your monthly utility bills. They can show you how much energy your home typically uses and what systems cost you the most.

monitor energy usage

Licensed from Shutterstock – By Piotr Adamowicz

The usual culprits for high costs and energy waste tend to be the water heater and heating and cooling system. Other factors could also impact your home’s efficiency. Your home’s insulation, for example, could be a huge source of wasted heating and cooling—especially if the insulation hasn’t been inspected or replaced in years. You should also check your windows and doors for proper weatherproofing every year.

However, waiting for your monthly bill or checking out your home’s construction issues are time-consuming steps, and they don’t help you immediately understand and tackle the problem. Instead, opt for an easier solution. Some homeowners, for example, use a smart energy monitor such as Sense to track energy use in real time and identify energy hogs.

Use Smart Plugs

Computers, televisions, and lights still consume energy if they’re left on and unused. Computers offer easy cost savings with their built-in timers that allow the devices to use less energy—they typically turn off after a set number of minutes. Televisions sometimes provide the same benefit, although you may have to fiddle with the settings to activate this feature.

A better option—and one that thwarts both the television and the lights—is purchasing smart plugs. The average US home uses more than 900 kilowatts of electricity per month. That can really add up, especially when you realize that people are wasting more than $19 billion every year on household appliances that are always plugged in. Smart plugs like WeMo can help eliminate wasted electricity by letting you control plugged-in items from your smartphone.

Update Your Lighting

Incandescent lightbulbs can consume and waste a lot of energy—35% of CO2 emissions are generated from electric power plants. This can have serious consequences for increased global warming.

To reduce your impact on the environment, you can install more efficient lightbulbs to offset your energy usage. However, many homeowners choose smart lights, like the Philips Hue bulbs, to save money and make their homes more energy efficient.

Smart lights can be controlled from your smartphone, and many smart light options come with monthly energy reporting so you can continue to find ways to reduce your carbon footprint.

Take Control of the Thermostat

Homeowners often leave the thermostat on its default settings, but defaults often result in heating and cooling systems that run longer and harder than they need to.

In fact, almost half the average residential energy use comes from energy-demanding heating and cooling systems. As an alternative to fiddling with outdated systems, eco-conscious homeowners use smart thermostats to save at least 10% on heating and roughly 15% on cooling per year.

Change your home’s story by employing a smart thermostat such as the Nest, ecobee3, or Honeywell Lyric. Smart thermostats automatically adjust your in-home temperature by accounting for a variety of factors, including outdoor humidity and precipitation. A lot of smart thermostats will also adjust your home’s temperature depending on the time of day and whether you’re home.

Stop Wasting Water

The average American household uses about 320 gallons of water per day. About one-third of that goes to maintaining their yards. Using a smart irrigation systems to improve your water usage can save your home up to 8,800 gallons of water per year.

Smart irrigation systems use AI to sync with local weather predictions, which can be really helpful if you have a garden or fruit trees that you use your irrigation system for  water. Smart features help keep your garden and landscaping healthy by making sure you never overwater your plants or deprive them of adequate moisture.

If you’re looking to make your home greener, AI-enabled products could make the transition much easier. Has a favorite tool you use that wasn’t mentioned here? Share in the comments below.

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